LAOBSERVED ( is featuring a video of Nancy Sinatra and a troupe of dancers doing a musical number (“Who Will Buy”) on what was left of the Pacific Ocean Park Pier (POP) after it closed. It’s quite spectacular.

Then follow the links to see more of POP – open and flourishing and closed,
and L.A. in the 1940s.

An indispensible site, LAOBSERVED definitely belongs on your “must see”


The special meeting Wednesday of the Planning Commission to consider a proposed fifth amendment to the development agreement for the Yahoo center was canceled owing to lack of a quorum.

The amendment would revise the “current base parking ratio for office use from the current requirement of one parking space per 322 square of office floor area to one parking space per 500 square foot of office floor area and would also authorize leasing of up to 1,053 existing surplus parking spaces to off-site parties, consistent with the facility’s long-standing practice of leasing underutilized spaces while maintaining asufficient parking for its on-site tenants.”

The amendment is necessary because the Center’s current parking policies
violate the provisions of the development agreement. Colorado Center LLC,
the owner of the Center, maintains that the original parking provisions were
unrealistic, allotting more space to parking than was necessary.

St. John’s hospital, whose 1998 development agreement included a 440+
underground parking garage, which it has yet to build, recently asked the City to allow it to delay building the garage for another ten years. In the meantime, hospital officials said, they would set up a valet parking system and lease off-site parking spaces, including over 1,000 at Yahoo.

Like the Colorado Center officials, St. John’s managers were expecting the resolution of their parking dilemmas this week.

Development agreements permit the City to make concessions to developers in return for developers’ salting their projects with “public benefits,” but in far too many instances the developers fail to deliver, as St. John’s and Colorado Place have done, and the City fails to follow up on the agreements and require developers to do what they agreed to do.

Clearly, the City should stop trading favors and simply require that the
developments themselves benefit the public.

Landscapes Tour Is Sunday

The Santa Monica Conservancy 2011 Landscapes tour will be held Sunday, May 1. The tour features 11 gardens in neighborhoods throughout the city, including homes of landscape designers, avid gardeners, and several recipients of Santa Monica’s Sustainable Gardens grants.

Tour-goers will see and hear how gardens have been adapted to reduce water usage while maintaining a lush variety of color and texture, and how they have changed over time as their owners’ interests and priorities have changed. They will also have an opportunity to purchase California native plants at a plant sale, sponsored by the Theodore Payne Foundation. A portion of the proceeds will be given to the Conservancy.

Tickets are $35 for the general public and $25 for Santa Monica Conservancy members. Non-members may purchase a discounted First-time Individual or Household membership for 2011 that permits them to buy tour tickets at member prices. Purchase tickets online, or bring cash or a check to purchase tickets on Sunday.

Tickets and tour brochures with maps will be held at a check-in table at the Department of Motor Vehicles parking lot, 2235 Colorado Ave (at Cloverfield Blvd), Santa Monica 90404. Plan on spending three hours to see all 11 landscapes.

Please patronize tour sponsors: Merrihew’s Sunset Gardens, 1526 Ocean Park Blvd., Bourget Brothers Building Materials, 1636 11th Street and Bourget Flagstone Co., 1810 Colorado Avenue

Annual membership contributions support the Conservancy work to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of Santa Monica and brings members its informative quarterly newsletter and discounts on tours and events.

Mailing Address: Santa Monica Conservancy, P.O. Box 653, Santa Monica, CA 90406. Phone 310-496-3146.

Council Extends Emergency Ordinance to 10/2012

At its Tuesday night meeting, the City Council voted to extend the Emergency Interim Ordinance it approved a couple of months ago to October 26, 2012 as amended by staff. It establishes interim development standards and procedures to be applied to new commercial projects, pending the codification of the revised land use and circulation elements of the General Plan (LUCE), incorporates the staff’s modifications and addresses ordinance applicability, CM District non-conforming uses, shared parking and FAR calculations in the Downtown, with exemptions for City projects.

At the same meeting, in closed session, prior to extending the Emergency
Ordinance, the Council approved a settlement with a developer with two pending projects whose attorney, Chris Harding, threatened litigation that would challenge the interim ordinance, and, possibly, void it. City Attorney Marcia Moutrie advised the Council to agree to the settlement. The developer’s projects are located at 702 Arizona Avenue and 1315-1317 Seventh Street.

The Council also approved the design of a new City parking structure on
Second Street. It is larger than any existing parking structure, has solar
Panels on the roof, and exterior staircases crisscrossing the face of the
structure. The Planning Commission had appealed the design. The Council
incorporated some of its suggestions, but over-rode the appeal.


California’s historic preservation community will gather in Santa Monica
for four days, Sunday to Wednesday, May 15 to18, for the 2011 California
Preservation Conference, “Preservation on the Edge,” held by the California
Preservation Foundation.

National Trust President Stephanie Meeks will be the keynote speaker
at the conference’s Plenary Session on Monday night, May 16.

Other highlights include: “The Power of Partnerships, Place, and Preservation,” a workshop at the Annenberg Beach House. Wednesday, May 18, 9:00 a.m. 5 p.m., $65; “Radical Preservation: An Unorthodox Approach Might be the Only Answer,” Luncheon at the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, Monday, May 16, 12:15 -1:45 p.m., $40; “The Future of Preservation, an Emerging Professionals Roundtable” at the Fairmont Miramar, Sunday, May 15, 4:30 – 5:45 p.m. Free (registration requested); “They Shoot Movies, Don’t They? Identifying, Interpreting and Preserving Mythic Movie Landscapes of the Santa Monica Mountains,” Sunday, May 15, 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. $65.

“The Power of Partnerships, Place, and Preservation.” The Annenberg Community Beach House is a case study in thinking beyond traditional preservation models. Originally constructed in the 1920s, Marion Davies’ beachfront estate, which had 118 rooms and 55 bathrooms, was reduced by time and circumstance to remnants of itself when the Annenberg Foundation and the City of Santa Monica undertook its resurrection as a public beach club and cultural center. The project encompassed historic restoration, adaptive reuse, new construction, sustainability strategies, and a broad vision of Santa Monica’s coastal cultural landscape.

The Beach House is anchored by two significant Davies estate landmarks designed by the nation’s leading woman architect of the 1920s, Julia Morgan, the guesthouse and swimming pool. They have been meticulously restored and augmented by some contemporary structures. A LEED Gold rated complex, it has received, among other things, a CPF Preservation Design Award.

The daylong workshop will feature a diverse roster of speakers who will use the Beach House as a case study to explore a number of themes including creating consensus with a broad range of stakeholders, relating sites to its cultural context, innovative approaches to integrating preservation and new construction, and material conservation strategies for repairing, restoring, and rehabilitating the site’s historic features.

“Radical Preservation: An Unorthodox Approach Might be the Only Answer.” Ann Gray, Publisher of Balcony Media, will moderate a panel discussion with John Ruble of Moore Ruble Yudell, Craig Hodgetts of Hodgetts + Fung Design and Architecture, and Frank Matero, Professor at University of Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Program on their personal experiences and the world view on what heritage conservation means today and in the future.

“The Future of Preservation, an Emerging Professionals Roundtable at the Fairmont Miramar.” Experts in a wide variety of preservation fields will take part in informal, roundtable discussions on the employment trends and opportunities in the expanding field of preservation.

“They Shoot Movies, Don’t They? Identifying, Interpreting and Preserving Mythic Movie Landscapes of the Santa Monica Mountains.” A day-long tour in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area focusing on the area’s movie history to learn how Hollywood set design wizardry and filming techniques transformed recognizable Southern California scenery into exotic locales. Morning activities will begin with a panel discussion at King Gillette Ranch, featuring noted movie historians Juliana Delgado, Harry Medved, Brian Rooney, and others. After lunch, there will be short and long docent-led hikes to movie sets in Malibu Creek State Park, followed by a visit to the park headquarters, the “Dream House” in “Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House.” The day will end with a tour of the Paramount Ranch Western Movie set, used for TV and movie filming from 1920s to the present.
Founded in 1977, the California Preservation Foundation is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of California’s diverse cultural and architectural heritage. With over 1,500 members, it is the state’s leading voice for historic preservation, as well as its most valuable source for preservation-related assistance. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees and is proud to partner with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Californians for Preservation Action.
The Santa Monica Conservancy is pleased to bring this statewide conference to Santa Monica, and thanks the many local partnering organizations, sponsors and volunteers who have made this possible.

Some tours are already sold out. To receive the conference brochure and registration form, call the Foundation at 415 495 0265 or email it at

Santa Monica Conservancy, PO BOX 653, Santa Monica, CA 90406, Phone
Number (310 496 3146). Email: